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Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to another Letter from America, the original article which was going to be published today has been replaced, this is due to the timeshare company reaching out to the members. As always, Inside Timeshare sends a draft copy to the timeshare company for comment, we do not always get a response, but on this occasion the company did respond. It may have been at the eleventh hour, but we congratulate the timeshare company concerned for their reaching out and we hope that they are able to resolve the matter.

As a last minute replacement we publish a revised version of The Peasant of Venice and the Queen of Versailles, by Irene Parker, originally published in November 2016.

This week has been a rather quiet one as far as the courts are concerned, there have been many cases going before the judges, but the sentences are unlikely to be announced until the New Year. Although we did get news of two sentences issued this week.

The first was from the Court of First Instance No4 in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, the judge in this case declared the contract with Anfi null and void. The reason was the length of the contract which exceeded that allowed by Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98, which states that perpetuity contracts or contracts with no end date and exceed the 50 years maximum are illegal. The client in this case has been refunded over 61,000€ plus legal Interest.

At the High Court No4 in Tenerife, Silverpoint was on the receiving end. The contract was declared null and void as it did not include any tangible product. Again under Law 42/98, a timeshare must include specific information such as a set apartment or an exact time of year. The client in this case has been refunded over 10,000€ plus legal interest.

Once again these cases were brought on behalf of the clients by Canarian Legal Alliance, contrary to what some forums run by some very dubious characters will tell you, these are genuine cases and are a matter of public record.

     

Now for this week’s replacement article.

The Peasant of Venice and the Queen of Versailles Revisited

    Jackie Siegel, Queen of Versailles  

By Irene Parker

December 14, 2018

“The Peasant of Venice and Queen of Versailles” article was first published November 6, 2016. I wrote the article because I wanted to explain how I went from being a 30 plus year timeshare owner without a timeshare complaint, question or post, to a full time volunteer whistleblower.

In July of 2015 I experienced a pathetically aggressive timeshare sales presentation in Florida. We had previously purchased points in Virginia because the company said they were adding New York properties, only to learn it would take about $10,000 in equivalent maintenance fee dollars to stay at the same hotel, same week that could be booked online for $1,000 plus tax. When I checked December 1, 2018, it would have cost $12,000 using our timeshare points. I don’t blame the sales agent. He may not have known about the poor value. It was the response from the company to the Attorney General listing all the times we had used our points prior to that purchase that bothered me. Eventually I was offered our money back for that purchase, but could not bring myself to sign the non-disclosure agreement.       

Rosa Parks said, “I was just trying to get home from work.” In my case, we were trying to get to our new home, moving from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Venice, Florida. It was my intention to return to my first love – teaching piano lessons. That all changed after the revolting timeshare presentation we experienced in Florida.  Disgusted, I returned to our unit, turned on the television and witnessed the jaw dropping house pictured above, being built by Westgate timeshare owners Jackie and David Siegel. I could not resist.

It was a hot July summer day in Orlando when my retirement turned upside down.

We entered the hospitality area where we were invited to attend a 55 minute “information only” presentation for existing owners. “Will we be paired with a commissioned sales agent?” I asked three times. “No”, Julie replied, “Only if you have questions in the last ten minutes. I attended and I learned a lot! We have group presentations now because we had so many complaints about high pressure aggressive sales sessions.” We did not sign the form agreeing to the 55 minute meeting because the fine print said we would be robo-called if we did. We were robo-called anyway. There was no form to be signed for the three hours that followed the 55 minutes.

A Diamond Resorts member recently sent me this comment from a former Diamond concierge describing an unfair and deceptive practice:

Concierge (Former Employee) – Virginia Beach, VA 23451 – December 3, 2018

A typical day of work consisted of misleading current owners and their guests in order to persuade and entice them to attend a timeshare meeting that could last well over what was initially disclosed….The hardest part of this job was knowing I was intentionally misleading owners/guests of the length of time for their timeshare meeting, as well as not disclosing it as a timeshare meeting as instead it was mandatory we refer to it as simply an “update on their current status” or “ways you can stay here and affiliated businesses in the future”. The most enjoyable part of this job was the interaction with varying people and the connections I gained therein.

https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Diamond-Resorts-International/reviews

Our Nightmare on Timeshare Street begins:

The next day we entered the reception area to be greeted by an attractive young lady. “Hello,” Donna greeted us. “Are you a commissioned agent?” I asked.  Puzzled, she took us by the arm and escorted us to the 55 minute presentation, retrieved us immediately after, and led us to her den.

I told Donna, “My husband is 77 years old. We do not want to invest in vacation plans because we need to investigate long term care plans.” “Why, we have many in their 90’s who come and enjoy our resorts!” she cried. “But we are in the middle of building a house and have no permanent residence at this time,” I countered. Kneeling and looking up, she gazed into my eyes and confessed she was a single mother and had to resort to her Diamond points when she divorced. “I know you didn’t put all your money in that house though,” she added. I kept saying over and over, “We don’t want to travel. We like our new house.” Frustrated, the manager ended by advising me to go to the website if I want to find out what’s new. Three hours and three sales agents and managers later, we returned to our unit.

I checked my email and learned the 4,500 points we had been promised for our Port Elsewhere Ozark timeshare deposit was credited only 3,000 points. Sure enough, I learned later the 4,500 points promised could be changed at any time for any reason. It’s all in the fine print.

I then decided to take my mind off this disturbing revelation by watching television. I turned on the FOX news show Property Man show hosted by Las Vegas Attorney Bob Massi, and there she was – The Queen! The King and Queen of Westgate timeshare were building a 90,000 square foot home that defied the imagination. Jackie’s clothes closet is 5,500 square feet!

http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/queen-of-versailles-q-and-a/

Thinking about the pathetically aggressive timeshare sales presentation we were deceived into attending, and the worthless points specifically purchased to stay in New York City, I wrote to Mr. Massi at Property Man never dreaming I would earn a response. Copying the letter to Diamond customer service, they credited the correct amount promised for our Port Elsewhere week.

A few months later a FOX producer called. I was asked if I would be willing to be interviewed by Mr. Massi. The producer told me the Queen of Versailles show wasn’t even about timeshares. It was about their house, but FOX had been flooded with timeshare complaints. She said I was the only viewer they asked to interview because I was the only respondent who said I wanted to talk about the positives in addition to the negatives of timeshare. I told her I was sorry, but I had just accepted a position as interim music director for a large church and could not participate, but I offered to research timeshare to help them with their talking points.

I started digging. The deeper I dug, the more alarmed I became. Wyndham, Westgate, Bluegreen and Diamond seemed to have the most complaints, with Disney, Hilton and Marriott far fewer. I submitted my research to FOX and returned to the choir. Six months later, after arranging a flight to Phoenix to stay at  a Diamond resort in Sedona, I received a call from the FOX producer, asking if we would agree to be interviewed by Mr. Massi in Phoenix as they had interviews scheduled that weekend. Some things are meant to happen.

The FOX producer told me David Cortese of Magical Realty had also been interviewed by Mr. Massi about timeshare resales. David is a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association (LTRBA). After viewing David’s segment, I contacted him to see if he would sell our Diamond points. I was told their company would not accept a listing to sell Diamond points. I surveyed all 64 LTRBA members and 22 responded also saying they felt Diamond points were worthless on the secondary market. “We feel Diamond has placed too many restrictions on the use of secondary points to be of any value to a buyer,” they sadly explained.

One of the LTRBA members asked if I would speak with a Hispanic family. Since this first October 2016 complaint, the calls and emails have not stopped. I have heard from 646 timeshare members.

Timeshare members want straight answers but straight answers are in short supply at some timeshare customer service desks. Callers or emailers explain how a sales agent lied to them, but when they contacted the timeshare company they were told, “You signed a contract.” Some described how the rescission period was dodged. Some things, like over promised availability, can’t be determined by reading the contract. I feel I was deceived by reading the contract which stated, “You can sell your points but we will not assist you.” They left out the part about no buyers.

From the October 2016 article describing what happened to the Hispanic family:

Maintenance fees increased to the point where they could no longer afford to own their points. The family soon found that they had to charge maintenance fees to their credit card in order to pay them. The family had already taken out a $33,000 home equity loan from their credit union to reduce the high loan interest rate, typically 14% to 18%.

In August 2015, when they complained about maintenance fees, they said that a sales agent tried to convince them to purchase another 10,000 points in order to achieve Platinum level. He said that by being Platinum, it would allow the couple to pay their maintenance fees with their points, as only Platinum members are allowed to use their points to pay maintenance fees. Then and now Platinum members can pay maintenance fees at $.04 per point, so if all 50,000 points were tendered, it would pay $2,000 towards a 2018 $8,631 maintenance fee bill.

If the family had agreed to the additional 10,000 points, they would have gone further into debt with little recourse. Based on hundreds of reported responses, if they had purchased the points, they would have been told, “You signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.” They have a daughter who just graduated from high school and has started college.

I spoke to the family not long ago. They relinquished their $60,000 worth of points that they had accumulated. They are still paying off the home equity loan.

Contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out if your timeshare has resale value.

Property Man was preempted due to the 2016 election coverage, so our segment aired April of 2017. The Florida DBPR timeshare division only acted on 110 out of 2,360 timeshare complaints from April 2012 to April 2014, so ignore Pam Bondi.  Bob Massi and his advice on timeshare resales:

https://www.facebook.com/RealBobMassi/videos/1041694629230338/

From FOX I stumbled onto Jim Cramer of Mad Money’s investment news service TheStreet, where remarkable editors, possessing the patience of Job, provided a crash course in editing.

https://www.thestreet.com/author/1684637/irene-parker/all.html

A member who submitted an article to Inside Timeshare introduced me to Whistleblowers of America https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/. Accepting an invitation to attend a Whistleblowers Summit in Washington DC this year, I was introduced to OpEd News:

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Witness-to-Las-Vegas-Octo-by-Irene-Parker-America-181030-359.html

And of course, there’s Charles Thomas at Inside Timeshare in Spain and Wayne Robinson in Malaysia and Wayne’s book.  I was honored to edit and write the Forward. Everything About Timeshare, Before. During and After the Sale

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

So all in all, I’m getting great value from my timeshare points measured in the people I’ve met, readers who read my articles, and the gratitude from members who are grateful for straight answers. We especially appreciate our Facebook administrators and our growing team of members helping other members. I do believe we are a disruptor and hope our efforts will benefit sales agents who sell the product honestly, as well as forestalling new buyers and existing members from making a decision that has financially devastated more than a few families. When sold honestly, timeshare provides years of fun for friends and family.

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene for getting this article out to us so quickly, it is difficult to replace an article at such short notice, but at least the timeshare company did respond and for that Inside Timeshare was happy to replace the original one.

That’s it for this week, join us again next week our last one before Christmas.

To all our readers have a great weekend and remember to do your homework before engaging with any company that contacts you or that you have found on the internet.

More Fake Procurators Identified

Tomorrow we will be publishing another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, by another Agent Orange Disabled Veteran, David Althage, who is being forced into a Timeshare Foreclosure, The article has been edited by Irene Parker.

Moving on, Mindtimeshare has shared new information on yet more “Fake Procurators” working alongside the “Fake Law Firms” which we have dubbed The Litigious Abogados Family. As our regular readers will know this plethora of “fake lawyers” has been running for around 3 years, every few months they change name and websites, yet all the websites are identical. All money they require from “clients” has to be paid to a Procurador, and there have been many of these surfacing.

The first is named as Carlos Gregorio Ingramo, very similar to one we named on 31 July CARLOS RIHOM IGRAIM and another on 11 December, Carlos Gabriel Salva Imgran, must admit they are very creative with the names they use.

Carlos Ingramo has a website

http://procuradores-ingramo.com/

Registered on 19 November 2018 and set to expire on 19 November 2019, so very new indeed. Once again the registrant is hidden so we have no idea who it is.

They show no telephone number but do have an email address: [email protected]

The address they show on the website is totally false and cannot be found on any maps search of Tenerife:

Calle Delmante 8, Edificio Kaleta, 202C, 38001, Santa Cruz Tenerife

The second “Fake Procurador” is named as Miguel Earas Raya, with the website:

http://procuradores-raya.com

Registered on 19 November 2018, due to expire on 19 November 2019, and yes you guessed it, the registrant is hidden.

No Telephone number but an email address:

[email protected]

The postal address is:

Calle Alamo 6, Edificio Watama, 161C, 38002, Santa Cruz, Tenerife.

Which again is fake and cannot be found on any internet map search.

The third one today is, Abel Deraza Tabreul, with the website

http://procuradores-tabreul.com

Registered on 26 October 2018 and due to expire 26 October 2019, once again registrant is hidden.

No telephone number is shown, but the email address is:

[email protected]

As with all these email addresses they are not linked to the websites, but are free email address providers.

The address given on the website is:

Calle Delatar 6, Pulgadas, Edificio Estresha, 403, 38001, Santa Cruz

Another fake address that cannot be found on any map!

All these are “FAKE”, they do not exist, somehow they have been able to set up bank accounts for you the unsuspecting client to pay in your hard earned cash.

If you are contacted by any of the “fake lawyers” or “fake Procurators” that we have highlighted in previous articles, then contact Inside Timeshare and let us know as much detail as possible.

To check all articles we have published, use Litigious Abogados in the search box, this will bring up all articles published, beware there are a lot of them.

Want to know if any “lawyers”, “claims companies”, “procurators” or any company that contacts you is genuine, use our contact page and gives us as much information as you have, we will then do the relevant checks and let you know if they are genuine or fake.

Remember, doing your homework is essential, there are many more “fake and scam” companies out there, with many more emerging each week. We need your information to identify them and warn others.

Join us tomorrow for our weekly Letter from America and another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to our Tuesday Slot, this weeks article by Irene Parker looks at a possible “Special Assessment” which may be levied against Diamond Hawaii Collection members and something she terms as the “Ping Pong Up-sell”. This is something we have heard about from readers on numerous occasions.

After our article yesterday on the “Fake” Procuradur and Lawyers, Inside Timeshare has already had several emails from readers who have thanked us for bringing this to their attention, they had been contacted by the “fake” firms mentioned and were almost taken in by them. Thankfully they decided to do a search on the internet and found previous articles as well as the one published yesterday.

This really does go to show how cautious you have to be when being contacted about your timeshare, the “pitch” is always very convincing and plays on the fact you will get back thousands. For many of these owners this is very tempting, as they tend to be elderly and can no longer afford the maintenance fees or even be able to travel.

Now on with this weeks article.

Beach Erosion in Hawaii and The Ping Pong Up-sell

By Irene Parker

December 11, 2018

I read a RedWeek post last week written by a Diamond Resorts member asking about a $6,000 special assessment they were told was to be levied against Diamond’s Hawaii Collection in 2020 due to beach erosion. Diamond sells their points as Collections, so there is a U.S. Collection, a Hawaii Collection, and a few others. The RedWeek post:

Has anyone heard of an upcoming assessment to repair the beach erosion? I recently attended an update meeting and was encouraged to get out of the Hawaiian collection. I was told that in 2020 owners will be charged an assessment to repair the beach erosion. My assessment was estimated to be around $6,000.

The poster apparently was attending a presentation on the U.S. mainland, because the sales agent told her she should not have purchased Hawaii Collection points due to the anticipated levy of a $6,000 special assessment.

As I was reading the post, my phone rang. Coincidentally the caller happened to be an ocean engineer who called because he was concerned that his elderly parents had purchased timeshare points, told if they did not give up their deeded timeshare with another company and buy points, their heirs would be responsible for the timeshare. This is a common complaint and almost always not true, but beyond the scope of this article. A recent article entitled the Heir Scare, our Halloween edition:

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-27/

The ocean engineer’s professional opinion:

My suggestion would be to ask Diamond for documentation to support the additional charges. For instance, it is reasonable to ask if the funding is for future flood protection that might be afforded by a beach nourishment project. Alternatively, inquire if the money might be required to pay for damage that has already occurred to structures or to restore a previously eroded beach.  If the assessment is intended for a beach nourishment project, it is likely that arrangements are in place for cost sharing between local stakeholders and government entities. Participation by a state or federal agency is an opportunity for those impacted by the additional billing to independently verify the project cost. The cost and scope of government efforts are a matter of public record, and learning the particulars is typically as easy as calling the project managers. If difficulties are encountered, the public has recourse in filing either federal or state Freedom of Information Inquiries.

In addition, 2020 is too far out to predict with any sort of fidelity. Concrete financial planning numbers at this stage are unlikely. There is an effort to have cost sharing between stakeholders and the federal entities. I have not heard of a federal project in Hawaii. It could be state, but most major beach nourishment projects are underwritten in part by the federal government. I have not heard of a state paying for damages from a flood.  The member needs to know what the assessment is for, in more detail than just beach erosion. Is it for protection or for damage that has already occurred? One is flood damage expense, the other is flood protection afforded by beach nourishment projects.

As I understand it “water intrusion” would be the responsibility of the timeshare developer, as water entered the property. Beach erosion is a natural, or some say a climate change generated phenomena, with the responsibility most likely in the hands of the federal government, but possibly the state.

This switch from one Collection to another is a common complaint. It’s been reported so frequently I have termed it “The Ping Pong Up-sell.” Numerous members have reported that they were told they should have not purchased U.S. or Hawaii Collection points, depending on which side of the Pacific they are sitting. We have categorized about 400 of the over 500 complaints.

One former Diamond member reported that her Virginia Diamond sales agent showed them pictures of decaying Hawaii air-conditioners as the reason they needed to switch to the US Collection from the Hawaii Collection.  

Roy Simmons and his wife are in the painful and demeaning timeshare foreclosure process. Mr. Simmons is a Navy veteran, living on a letter carrier’s pension. Mr. Simmons switched back and forth from the U.S. to the Hawaii Collection, ending up with $2,700 a month in Diamond loan payments. In his YouTube, which has had over 2,000 views, Mr. Simmons explains the reasons why he switched from:

  1. The U.S. Collection to the Hawaii Collection, then
  2. About six months later after this switch, Mr. Simmons switched from the Hawaii Collection to the U.S. Collection. According to Mr. Simmons, the Florida sales agent asked, “Why Hawaii?” The sales agent said the interest on their loan payments should be about $200 to $300 less in the U.S. Collection because Hawaii has hurricanes, and in the past, damage from the hurricanes had been expensed to members. He said they might have to pay thousands in special assessments.
  3. About six months after that, they traveled to Hawaii and were asked, “Why U.S. Collection?” “It was true the interest on our loan payments did not decrease by $200 to $300 a month, only $20 to $30 per month, and because we purchased more points, we ended up with $2,700 a month in loan payments. We always enjoyed our Diamond points,” said Mr. Simmons.

Mr. Simmons’ YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_nca6lMA4U&feature=youtu.be    

Diamond’s Kauai Poipu Resort did experience water intrusion damage in 2012, which prompted a lawsuit filed by owners.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60625-i1817-k5926954-Settlement_Reached_Between_Diamond_Point_at_Poipu_Owners-Poipu_Kauai_Hawaii.html

I asked attorney Mike Finn his opinion concerning special assessments of this nature:

I essentially agree with your engineer’s comments. The owners would be called upon for a special assessment if it was a water intrusion issue, as it would be assessed to them by the property owners association.

The legal issue regarding Poipu Point was the obvious mismanagement from the association’s management company in failing to prevent the water intrusion and/or failing to remedy the situation once it was discovered. The management company failed in its duty to pursue the insurance claim as well, perhaps realizing that their poor maintenance was probably the source of the problem and that was not covered by insurance.

As to the association’s responsibility for beach erosion, that would be quite a stretch and should be challenged by any board members not in the pocket of the developer. Maintenance of the beach should not be an association issue. That sounds like a salesman’s scare tactic.

As always, Inside Timeshare knows there are many Diamond timeshare sales agents that sell the product properly, and we hope the company will consider that Mr. Simmons may be telling the truth. We hear from senior after senior, contemplating foreclosure. I have listened to many tears.

Self-help timeshare groups we feel are not industry influenced and our mission statement:

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene and also a big thanks to attorney Mike Finn for your contribution, we are sure that this article will be of great interest to many Diamond Members.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute an article, then contact Inside Timeshare, we would love to share them with our readers worldwide.

Have you been contacted by a so-called law firm or claims company with a story that your timeshare company has been or is being taken to court?

Have you been told that your name is on a list of creditors owed money which the court is holding, due to a purchase you made years ago?

If so, then use our contact page and let us know, be safe rather than sorry, get the facts before you pay any money. Do your homework, you know it makes sense.

Start the Week: More Fake Procurators and Lawyers Emerge

For a long time now Inside Timeshare has been running many articles on the “Fake” law firms we have dubbed The Litigious Abogados Family, each time there then follows the names of “Fake” procurators, who will require payment to bring your case to court.

Well as you can guess, there has emerged a very new name to add to the growing list, Carlos Ingram Procuradoria, the address they give in the website:

Calle Metas 3, Edificio Aldesa, 197B, 38003, Santa Cruz, Tenerife

It does not even show on Google maps, the only thing genuine about the address is the postcode 38003, which is in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

This “company” set up by Carlos Gabriel Salva Imgran has the website

http://procuraduria-imgran.com/

which incidentally is the same layout as the one for

http://procuradores-alinas.com/

which we highlighted in our article on 12 November.

The website for Carlos Gabriel Salva Imgran, was registered only on 27 November 2018 and is set to expire on 27 November 2019. So, for a so-called procurator a very short lifespan indeed. The registrant is hidden by a privacy protect company and is registered in Panama.

They also show no telephone numbers or any details of company registration or even if they are members of any professional associations, although we have been given the following email address:

[email protected]

Which is once again one of those free email address providers and not linked to the website.

This particular “procurator” appears to be linked to Abogados Litigacion with the CIF Number A12475921 and the address:

Calle de SAN. Francisco, Número 6, Santa Cruz, 38001-38002, Tenerife.

The telephone numbers given are:

Freephone: 0800 862 0036

Tenerife Tel: 0034 822 684 562

With email addresses, again free email providers not linked to the website:

[email protected]

[email protected]

All of these are exactly the same as those for another “fake” law firm we highlighted on 22 October 2018 called Abogados Litigación España, with the same founder

Juan Drimelas Deolaro.

The website http://abogadoslitigacion.com was registered on 26 October 2018 and again is set to expire on 26 October 2019 along with a hidden registrant.

Although the photo of the founder is the same as before, we do have three new lawyers and contact lady:

Armando Loanta Ombididani, currently unidentified.

Juan Ferroli Onogano, who is actually Juan Blanco Dávila the legal and regulatory director for the Andean area and Chile of the Ferrero Group

Albero Koeta Mortoyal,  a Colombian lawyer called Juan Oswaldo Martínez.

Manuela Taloran Delnat, who we have identified as Natalia Pastorutti, who gained her law degree from the Universidad del Salvador.

So there we have it, more new “fakes” to be wary of, as and when we come across the new incarnations we will publish those here. This does show you the need to be be very careful with any “Law Firm” that contacts you about your timeshare, or even one you may have found on the internet. Do your homework, if you are not sure what to look for, use our contact page and we will help you find them.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this weeks Letter from America by Irene Parker, it is appropriate that today on this special occasion in the US we publish our Veterans “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”. You may also be familiar with some of the names, as we have published their stories in the past.

 

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7

Never Forget

By Irene Parker

Yesterday America mourned the loss of 41st President George H. W. Bush. We pause today to remember Pearl Harbor and all veterans and active duty service members.

Tom E. (Tommy) Unger was my best friend and fellow Rotarian when I lived in Hawaii. The picture above is from his book, Max Schlemmer, Hawaii’s King of Laysan Island. I can think of no better way to honor my friend than to promote his book about his grandfather, a whaler and later a superintendent of a guano mining operation on Laysan Island, one of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands about 800 miles from Honolulu. I wrote Never Forget and then remembered Tommy’s book. I dug it out of the bookshelf and read his inscription, “To Irene and Don – who gave me a midnight ride to the hospital. Dear friends I shall never forget. Aloha, Tom E. Unger. This happened after a couple martinis did not sit well with Tommy’s heart medication. It felt like Tommy answered me.

Tommy grew up across the street from Roosevelt High School, becoming one of Roosevelt’s star football players. Following in his footsteps, grandson Max Unger plays NFL starting center for the New Orleans Saints.

From Tommy’s book cover, “Tom saw action during the Pearl Harbor attack as a civilian rescue worker. He received a Purple Heart and a Combat Commission during three Italian campaigns.” Visitors to Pearl Harbor were greeted by Tommy as they settled in to watch the film describing that day. He gave lectures and acted as a guide at the Visitor Center at the Arizona Memorial until his passing. Credit for photo: Donald J Johnson

Inside Timeshare has heard from 86 veterans and active duty service members who have described astonishing accounts of unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Several of the veterans are disabled. Below I list five Agent Orange veterans, including Leo Gomez who passed away at age 72 in November, battling pancreatic cancer and his timeshare contract. I think of Leo often given the number of times I talked to him the last month of his life about his timeshare. The company responded that I am a “self-styled” so-called, third party (not an attorney) “advocate” with “clients” who purports to assist members in exiting their contract. I am a human being with a conscience, who is incapable of hanging up the phone when a distraught fellow human being contacts me in distress. It’s called having a soul.  

Listed below are five Agent Orange exposed veterans who have contacted me, describing extraordinary accounts of deception, perpetrated by timeshare sales agents. Timeshare company representatives will call their accounts allegations. I don’t. Based on a volume and a pattern of complaints, I believe war heroes over repeat offender timeshare sales agents. This volume and pattern of complainants together I believe establishes and overcomes the “you have no proof” denials offered by the companies purporting to care about their customers, and some regulators, together allowing deception to continue unchecked with “You have no proof” auto-denials.    

I want to also thank Whistleblowers of America for supporting our efforts. They included our timeshare report at the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs March 14, 2018.

https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/

Please remember WoA this Holiday season.

  Speak Truth to Power

Fraud and Scams Against Veterans:

Although WoA recognizes that it is not inherent within the VA mission to protect veterans from fraud and scams that could cost them their benefits, it suggests that it could be assistive in educating veterans against these unscrupulous tactics. For example, WoA has had multiple complaints from veterans related to timeshare deceit and bait and switch tactics, which are defined by the FBI as fraud for profit.  Often elderly veterans are mentioned as being targeted by the Timeshare Advocacy Group™ which fights for active duty and retired military who fear losing their security clearance, career, homes or other assets.  Foreclosures and financial distress because of these misrepresented investments are happening every day to elderly disabled veterans and their families. In the past, VA has cooperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over mortgage and other loan scams that caused financial hardships for veterans.  Home loans and timeshare loans are identical as both are reported as foreclosures. WoA asks that Congress consider a role for the VBA Employment and Economic Initiative (EEI) could play in cooperation with CFPB to educate and protect veterans from unscrupulous financial predators and fraudulent practices.

Our five Vietnam Agent Orange exposed veterans:

   

Mr. David Althage is the 5th Agent Orange exposed veteran harmed by timeshare. We are currently reaching out to the company hoping they will help Mr. Althage.

My name is David Althage and I am a veteran of the Marines. I served from 1964 to 1968 and ended up as a Corporal E4. I spent most of 1965 and 1966 in Vietnam and my specialty was machine gunner which I did on the ground and also as the door gunner on helicopters. I was wounded twice and I have also suffered from the cancerous effects of Agent Orange on my skin. All of that seems a lifetime away as my wife and I have been settled for many years in Missouri. These days I repair mobile homes for work, and I keep going at this even though I am now 73. I do not have retirement or a pension. I only have social security.

#2 George Yamada, 70% disabled, bought timeshare points as an investment – George is a pension administrator

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Let-s-Honor-our-Veterans–by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180908-59.html

#3 100% Agent Orange disabled, Purple Heart, shot in Vietnam, company resolved the timeshare dispute.

#4 Danny Wolfer, up-sold by a timeshare sales agent we have received 20 complaints against. Mr. Wolfer is 100% disabled, issued a $170,000 IRS 1099 due to timeshare foreclosure. Danny’s son contacted us about the 1099 after his dad had been foreclosed. We helped him resolve the IRS liability.

#5 Leo Gomez, earned two Purple Hearts, with one month to live, battled pancreatic cancer and his timeshare – Sadly Leo passed away November 9, 2018.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Fourth-Agent-Orange-Vete-by-Irene-Parker-Fraud-180917-513.html

Thank you to all service members, especially those who have sacrificed their life and health, to protect even those who seek to do them harm.

Leo Gomez

If you have a timeshare story, positive or negative to share, contact Inside Timeshare. We know there are many honest sales agents who have sold timeshares to many who use and enjoy their timeshare. We are not disputing that. One former sales agent and executive is Wayne C. Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale. Wayne is himself a Navy veteran, a former Navy journalist, and now a champion for those who feel they have been harmed by unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices that Wayne witnessed during his timeshare career. Please consider Wayne’s book on your stocking stuffer list. It’s the perfect size!

  

https://mailchi.mp/c17d6bca8662/here-is-a-christmas-gift-you-were-not-expecting

Timeshare self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

If you have any comments or would like to share your “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, please use our contact page, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, our scheduled article has been withdrawn, this is due to the timeshare company reaching out to the family concerned at the last minute. Obviously we at Inside Timeshare are pleased with this, it is just a shame that other timeshare companies do not do the same. In its place Irene Parker has drafted a last minute article on the same theme of No Secondary Market.

Following on from yesterday’s article on fake law firms, we have been informed of a Fake Notary calling clients who have claims going through the courts, this is highly disturbing as the calls are definitely in breach of data protection.

The caller going by the name of Louise Fisher with a broad Irish accent has contacted these clients claiming to be either from Anfi Accounts, Silverpoint and European Notary Office. In the call Louise seems to have some very sensitive information which they should not be in possession of.

In several of the calls she states that they are aware the client has a case pending in court and the timeshare company has offered an out of court settlement involving thousands of pounds. In order to have this money paid a substantial amount has first to be paid into the account of a named individual for administration purposes.

This appears to be the same outfit that we highlighted in several article earlier in the year, the name used at that time was Abogados Lopez, the callers were Hope Brugge, Megan Heywood and Paul Tyler.

This is “FRAUD”, if you receive a call from the Irish Louise Fisher or anybody else with a similar story, check with your lawyers first, do not be taken in by the huge sums they are quoting, do not pay them any money. If you have had a case in court or an out of court settlement is reached it will be from you own lawyers with an email address you will recognise or even a name you are familiar with.

Now for this weeks article.

The Disaster of NO SECONDARY MARKET for Timeshare Buyers vs the Benefits of NO SECONDARY MARKET for Timeshare Stock Market Investors

By Irene Parker

December 4, 2018

Quote from a timeshare member

The reality is that we have ended up in the seemingly inescapable grip of a timeshare industry that tightens, little by little, like a Boa Constrictor, until families are stressed out, broke and/or facing foreclosure.

The following quote is from Mr. Scott Miller, founder of Greenhaven Road Capital, promoting the benefit of no secondary market as a reason to buy stock or invest in a timeshare company, Latticework, May 18, 2016

There are a few websites and specialized brokers in timeshare hotbeds like Maui, but timeshares are hard to sell in general, and when they do sell, it is often at a very significant discount to the original price paid. In summary, customers experience a reasonable value proposition tempered by the lack of a secondary market.

The secondary market has undoubtedly had its growth stunted because the absence of the market creates an opportunity for the timeshare companies.

For example, a timeshare interest that would sell for $25,000 can often be purchased by the company for $3,000 in back maintenance fees. A robust secondary market would clearly yield higher resale values.

This low-cost source of inventory does come at the expense of those who no longer value their timeshare, but is beneficial for the company since it improves the margins and lowers the capital intensity of the business.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

We have heard from 617 timeshare members. For the most part, the only court open has been the court of public opinion. I am sickened by family after family contacting me, widows, disabled veterans and active duty service members, those with top security clearances in jeopardy, driven into likely foreclosure, like Elaine describes in Friday’s article:

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-32/

The article scheduled for today has been postponed, hopefully to be scrapped, as the timeshare company has reached out to the member that wrote the first quote above from their article. The timeshare member also wrote the following.

I have read so many horrific stories about timeshares on this blog that it makes me sick to my stomach. So much so, that I hesitated to even submit our story because of so many people in a much worse situation. I didn’t want to come across like a cry baby. However, it occurred to me, that the majority of timeshare members, held hostage by no secondary market, probably don’t have a major tragedy or illness of some sort. Sick babies, disabled combat veterans, seniors driven to foreclosure in their 70s and 80s, make for interesting reading.  I am in total empathy with those suffering hardship, but my point is – that it is not right for your ordinary everyday citizen either.

There are thousands of hard-working citizens in the same boat, driven into foreclosure because we have no choice. Who would buy a boat, car, or house you could not sell? How can the timeshare industry not recognize that this can’t continue forever without the public becoming aware of this manipulated and restricted secondary market? We all have networks of friends and family listening to how we have found ourselves timeshare trapped.

The majority of people seeking release from timeshare contracts are probably just like us; regular, hardworking people who simply wanted a vacation to look forward to and enjoy when they signed their contract. The reality is that we have ended up in the seemingly inescapable grip of a timeshare industry that tightens, little by little, like a Boa Constrictor, until families are stressed out, broke and/or facing foreclosure.

We are waking up to the realization that what was sold to us as an “asset” is a liability even the timeshare companies don’t want. We are dragged through the demeaning and demoralizing foreclosure process, because a timeshare is an albatross you can’t get rid of.  At least we have a forum to warn the general public – why buy anything you can’t get rid of? If people knew this, who in their right mind would ever buy a timeshare?

If you spent $25,000 to over $500,000 for a timeshare, in all likelihood the timeshare is worth nothing, even just one minute after the state’s contract rescission period.

Something needs to change in the timeshare industry

While timeshares often ruin the credit of hard-working citizens, timeshare sales agents, managers, executives and investors make billions – spinning the hamster wheel of recycled weeks and points.

Inside Timeshare has heard from many honest current and former timeshare sales agents, employees, managers and executives who are well aware of the unfair and deceptive sales practices, also harmed by the actions of the predators. There are thousands of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, Trust Pilot, Attorneys General, and lawsuits galore. Who is the finger pointed at – Me a messenger. The finger should be pointed at the Perpetrator.

A quote by Anthony “Tony” de Mello (4 September 1931 – 2 June 1987), an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, a spiritual teacher, writer, and public speaker  

   I am pointing to the moon and you are staring at the end of my finger!

Self-help timeshare groups and our mission:

We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Irene for your last minute revision, it may have upset your plans yesterday but at least it was for a good reason, it just goes to show the old saying “The pen is mightier than the sword”, is still holding true.

If you have had any calls from any company and you are not sure who they are, use our contact page and let us know the details, we will help you to find out if they are genuine or not.

It is also worth remembering that if you do have a law firm or lawyer working on your case, it is they and they alone who will inform you of any developments including out of court settlements, timeshare accounts departments, notaries etc will not be getting involved.

Start the Week: More Fake Law Firms

Welcome to another week in the world of timeshare, In tomorrow’s Tuesday Slot we welcome the Sharp Family with their first contribution. In Festiva Fury, they explain the pitfalls of having no secondary market for timeshare and the fact it is worthless from the moment you sign. So join us for another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” tomorrow.

Now we have some news of the latest “FAKE” law firms to emerge, we begin with one that was highlighted on Mindtimeshare last week, with a little extra that Inside Timeshare found and shared with them.

The name of this “Law Firm” is B Olmo Y Asociados and are based according to their website at:

Calle Gonzalo de Cordoba 11 28010 Madrid

The website was only registered on 1 November 2018, so is a very new one indeed. Once again the registrant is hidden by a privacy company, so there is no idea who is actually behind it.

https://bolmoasociados.com

They do show an email address on the website [email protected]   but no telephone or fax numbers, which for a “law firm” is very strange.

Another fact is they do show a registration number B Olmo Asociados Colegiado numero: 56040 (see PDF below) when checking this number against the database for registered lawyers in Madrid we do come up with a lawyer with that registration number, Beatriz Olmo Sere, who registered in 1995, but the entry does not show any address or telephone number, although it is a current registration.

Censo de Letrados _ Abogacía Española

As we have seen in the past, these fake law firms do use registration numbers of genuine lawyers and also use parts of their names, this is obviously to give them credibility if any searches are made. Somehow we don’t think that Beatriz Olmo Sere is actually aware her registration number is being used.

According to the caller named Henk de Koning (Henk the King!), the timeshare owner is due thousands awarded by the court, but to release this 9.2% of the awarded amount has to be paid first to cover administration costs. Again this has to be paid by bank transfer.

Another name that has also just come to light is associated with Abogados Legalidades, part of the Litigious Abogados family.

http://insidetimeshare.com/another-new-name-for-litigious-abogados-family/

Rodrigo Hoya Asesoria, with the address Calle Drago 8, Edificio Belinda, Oficina 603 D, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Spain, which does not show on any search through Google maps, they also show the email address [email protected] which once again is a free email service.

It would seem that they are contacting those who have previously paid the fake law firms and are needing further “administration” payments. This needs to be paid by bank transfer probably into an account of a named individual.

As usual, all we can do is warn you that these are all fake law firms and lawyers, do not be taken in by their false claims, that you have been awarded large amounts by the courts or that your timeshare company is about to be taken to court.

Do not pay them anything, it is a “fraud” and you will never see that money again, if you are in doubt about any company, law firm or lawyer that contacts you then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare and we will help you to do your checks.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK, YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE.

Silverpoint: Company Participations is Timeshare

A few years ago Silverpoint changed their usual “investment” packs  into “The Company Participation Scheme”. This is where the clients are then sold “participations” (not shares), in “registered” companies. These are actually apartments that are registered as companies with names like “Palm Beach 112”, using the names of the resorts along with a number, (possibly the apartment).

Once again like the “investment” weeks the whole point is to dodge the strict timeshare laws, which at first Silverpoint were successful in doing so. They actually fooled the courts in the early days that the purchasers were not buying timeshare but were investing in property. Eventually the Supreme Court ruled that these clients were buying timeshare and were not investors, therefore they had the full protection of the timeshare laws.

Since that first ruling Silverpoint has been on the receiving end of many court cases, almost on a daily basis, with the court’s finding for the clients. This is costing Silverpoint hundreds of thousands of pounds.

In a new and unprecedented case these “Participations” have been shown to be what they are, timeshare by another name, or what we at Inside timeshare would call a “Pig in a Dress”.

Company Participations “Pig in a Dress”

It all revolves around a case brought by Canarian Legal Alliance on behalf of clients at the Juzgado De Primera Instancia No2 in Arona Tenerife, (Court of First Instance), on the 20 November 2018.

In this pre-trial hearing, which is usually a precursor to a full trial, something very extraordinary took place, before the Judge, Dña Lara Etelvina López Jiménez, Silverpoint and their legal team admitted that the “Company Participations” are indeed “TIMESHARE”!

This admission is going to have a very profound effect on all pending cases, it also opens the gates for many more “victims” to come forward and place claims against Silverpoint, not just to be reimbursed with their “INVESTMENT” but also have the contract declared null and void.

Judge Lara Etelvina López Jiménez decided on this admission that there was no need for a full trial to take place and closed the proceedings issuing her judgement and sentence within days of the case.

She ordered that the contract be declared null and void with the return to the client of 81,700€ including legal interest and fees. (Click on the PDF to see the court document).

Silverpoint_Company_Participation_Sentence_1_instance

The client was represented by the CLA Team of lawyer Miguel Ángel Méllian Santana and Procurador Buenaventura Alfonso Gonzalez.

Miguel Ángel Méllian Santana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what exactly is this “Company Participation”?

Well, it is a rather sophisticated scheme designed as we said to circumvent the timeshare laws, “Participants” purchase a number of participations in the companies, which are actually the apartments registered as companies. The idea is they will receive a “rental” income with a yearly dividend of about 4% of the income rental. They are also should be able after 3 years to “sell” their participations, the only thing as we have found out from one of our readers is that they can only be sold to other participants. One slight problem here, they don’t know who they are and have no way of finding out, but according to our readers information, Silverpoint will approach them with the sale!

Attached to these “participations” are also holiday weeks which the “investor” is able to use, which does put them into the realms of timeshare.

Now as far as the “dividends” are concerned, some have received them in the first couple of years of “investing”, but as we are increasingly finding out most are now way behind on receiving them for this year.

The reason is that Silverpoint and Excel Resorts, who are the managing company of the resorts themselves have had a very severe falling out, with Silverpoint losing all marketing rights. So when these “investors” enquire and complain that they have not received their dividends for this year, they are told by Excel that they are waiting for Silverpoint to pay them.

When the “investor” makes further complaints and threatens legal action, it appears that Excel pays them the dividend, the only thing is it is with the “investors” own money which they have paid for the “participations”. I don’t know about you, but to me this looks like the classic “Ponzi scheme”!

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

Here is a simple explanation.

A Ponzi scheme (/Ponzi/ also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors. Investors may be led to believe that the profits are coming from product sales, or other means, and remain unaware that other investors are the source of profits. A Ponzi scheme is able to maintain the illusion of a sustainable business as long as there continues to be new investors willing to contribute new funds and most of the investors do not demand full repayment and are willing to believe in the non-existent assets that they are purported to own. (It is also known as a Pyramid Scheme).

It is actually named after Charles Ponzi who became notorious for exploiting it in the 1920’s, it also has roots in literature, being used in two Charles Dickens novels Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) and Little Dorrit (1857).

In further developments it has also come to our attention that Diana Aitchison, Chief Operating officer for Mark Cushway at Silverpoint, has recently parted company with Silverpoint, she is apparently now in the reservations department of Excel Resorts and Hotels.

This does indeed acknowledges a huge split between the two companies, one problem which Excel will have with the move of Diana Aitchison, is the fact that she signed off many of these “participations” for Silverpoint. This along with the fact that Excel is listed as “Sole Administrator” for these “registered” companies indeed shows a legal link which will only help those future cases.

We will bring you further information as we get it, but for now this recent development is going to please many of those who “INVESTED” in this scheme.

Have you been a victim of this or a similar “timeshare” scheme?

Have you been a victim of Resort Properties / Silverpoint and want to know the way forward?

If so use our contact page and let us know, Inside Timeshare will explain what your options are and point you in the right direction. You have rights under Spanish law for redress, don’t lose out on your chance to regain your hard earned money and have the contracts declared null and void.

Another Incarnation of the Fake Lawyer in Tenerife

Well it didn’t take long for another incarnation of the Litigious Abogados family to come up with another “FAKE” law firm, this one is called La Litigación Española, with the website

http://lalitigacionespanola.com

Which was registered on 2 November 2018 so is only 25 days old, it is due to expire on 2 November 2019, so only paid for one year!

As usual the registrant is hidden by a privacy protect via GoDaddy, this in itself is usually a sign of a “Scam” outfit.

According to the website the firm was founded on Friday 2 october 1992, again very precise, by Juan Folanta Hadorso, they claim to be a legally registered Spanish company with the CIF Number A25891623. No company can be found on Spanish company register and the CIF Number is also a fake.

The address is one that we have seen before on several other incarnations:

4, Calle de San. Francisco, 4P, Santa Cruz, 38001-38002, España

The telephone numbers they give are:

Freephone: 0800 862 0194

Madrid: 0034 919 030 442

Santa Cruz: 0034 822 250 524

With the email addresses:

[email protected]

[email protected]

Again these email addresses are free email providers.

The website once again shows many official logos for the many Colegios de Abogados, (Bar Associations) and various other official associations.

They also show photographs of their so-called lawyers:

Juan Folanta Hadorso

Juan Folanta Hadorso, the founder, who is actually Jean-Pierre-Mignard Lysias Partners based in France (see link)

Jean-Pierre-Mignard

https://www.lopinion.fr/edition/politique/jean-pierre-mignard-dans-jardin-bien-mal-5230

Francisco Desrabu Folanos

Alberto Nalgata Solatez

Emillio Gargantim Librenza

On the contact page there is also a photo of another young lady who is probably the admin contact contact:

Manuela Lamamel Coniu

We are still in the process of identifying the other pictured “lawyers”.

Another name that has surfaced is Alberto Nalgata Solatez who is from Departmento De Reclamaciones or claims department.

Well we all know what the “pitch” is going to be, your timeshare company is to appear in court very shortly, you have a case and can be part of this. But to do so there is going to be a procurator fee to be paid direct to a named individual and a personal bank account.

Then you will be informed that the director of your timeshare company pleaded guilty to all charges and you have been awarded a substantial amount of money. Fantastic, an early Christmas present, unfortunately you must first pay a “TAX” to have this money released, this will be around 20% of the awarded amount.

This will all be backed up as in the past by very convincing court documents, along with probably a photocopy of the cheque made out in your name. This will never arrive, well, an envelope will arrive but it will be open and the cheque will be missing.

Then out of the blue, another company will be in touch and tell you the cheque was stolen and cashed by a foreign gang. This company has been charged by the court to recover your money for you, but, yes you guessed it, they will want around 10% to 20% of the awarded amount to carry this out.

This is a “FRAUD”, do not be taken in by them, all the names are FAKE, all the documents are FAKE, everything about them is FAKE!

If you have been contacted by this or any other company with a similar story, use our contact page and give us the details, it is through your information that we can warn others and also pass this information to the appropriate authorities.

Remember, doing your homework first will in the end save you thousands and a lot of heartache.

Silverpoint: The Story Moves On

Silverpoint formerly Resort Properties and now also known as Signallia Marketing Distribution SL is no stranger to these pages, or to many of those readers who have in the past purchased timeshares from them.

Many of these purchasers have also been taken in with the promise of “investment packs”, these are packs of weeks and apartments which were sold with the promise of a substantial return after two years. This return was supposed to have happened with the resale of those weeks, but these never happened, leaving many with huge maintenance fees and even bigger Barclays Partner Finance loans.

The story was always the same, the weeks and apartments that the clients purchased could not be sold as they were not sought after, in order to secure the initial “investment” the clients needed to “upgrade” to better quality apartments which were being sought. This “upgrade” would also be financed with a BPF loan arranged by firstly Resort Properties and then Silverpoint.

At the helm of this enterprise was the Chief Executive Officer Mark Cushway, who is still at the helm, although they insist they no longer sell “timeshare”.

Mark Cushway

A few years ago these “investment” packs were changed to “The Company Participation Scheme”. This is where the clients are then sold “participations” (not shares), in “registered” companies. These are actually apartments that are registered as companies with names like Palm Beach 112, using the names of the resorts along with a number, (possibly the apartment).

Once again like the “investment” weeks the whole point is to dodge the strict timeshare laws, which at first Silverpoint were successful in doing so. They actually fooled the courts in the early days that the purchasers were not buying timeshare but were investing in property. Eventually the Supreme Court ruled that these clients were buying timeshare and were not investors, therefore they had the full protection of the timeshare laws.

Since that first ruling Silverpoint has been on the receiving end of many court cases, almost on a daily basis, with the court’s finding for the clients. This is costing Silverpoint hundreds of thousands of pounds, in the past few weeks alone the courts have ordered they repay around half a million pounds.

One of the continuing themes from our readers emails is how has Cushway got away with this timeshare “scam” for so long?

The simple answer is, he has others in the front line doing his bidding, according to his profiles on the internet, he paints a picture of total respectability.

In Tenerife another associate of Mark Cushway being linked to Silverpoint & Signallia Marketing is called Lee Burton.

Lee Burton

Apparently he is well known in timeshare circles, mainly as a bit of a henchman. He is closely associated with Mark Cushway, as well as others in the industry.

Inside Timeshare has also been informed that this individual is also under investigation for lying to the court under oath, which is known as perjury. A Criminal Denuncia (official police complaint) has also been filed against him on this very matter. He is a person of significant interest to the Guardia Civil, this is a police force that you do not want to get on the wrong side of.

It is believed from our sources that his role is ensure the smooth running of the operation and dealing with any “problems”. Judging by his reputation, a role he is well suited for.

As we were getting this article ready for publication, Inside Timeshare received an email from a very concerned daughter whose 91 year old Mother has these “Company Paticipations”.

It tuns out that she wanted to hand back her membership with Palm Beach Club several years ago, she did not expect any payment, just to hand it back and be free of the burden of the maintenance fees. Well it didn’t quite work out like that. She was told that the only way was to “invest” nearly £30,000 (at the age of 85) in the “Company Participation Scheme”.

It now turns out that she is unable to get back her “investment” as promised, the only way is to sell her “participations” to another holder, this was the advice given by Diana Aitchison one of the senior managers at Silverpoint.   All well and good, the only problem is she is unable to find out who the other “participants” are.

The other question is did an 85 year old lady actually understand what she was getting into, according to Diana she does not think so, somehow we think not as well. So if Diana Aitchison was aware of this why did she not do something about it?

Diana Aitchison is a former Director of Resort Services at RCI (Resorts Condominiums International) and was appointed as Chief Operating Officer at Silverpoint by Mark Cushway in May 2013.

Diana Aitchison

She is now trapped in this scheme and is obviously getting very worried that she has now lost all her money. It would appear from this and other emails Inside Timeshare has received on this subject, that it is the elderly that are being targeted. All are retired, all are being coerced into this scheme and to finance it by going for equity release. Is this they way to conduct business? Inside Timeshare thinks not!

If you have been “sold an Investment” in this scheme, or have had any dealings with Silverpoint and want to know where you stand legally, then get in touch with Inside Timeshare. We will be able to point you in the right direction to get the best advice possible.